Using Smartphone Technology to Augment Search and Rescue Operations

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In the days leading up to hurricane impact, emergency managers planning for Search and Rescue operations can never have enough information. How many people will ignore mandatory evacuation orders and stay with their homes during the storm? Where are these people located? How can I reach out to these people and send them help once the storm has passed? All of these questions and more can be answered by leveraging the most powerful and ubiquitous technology available in most households today – the smartphone.

Sample image of Virtual Badge Search and Rescue Mission Planning Dashboard

Disaster Solutions has developed a smartphone application called Virtual Badge that has been used to augment Search and Rescue mission planning in several of the most recent catastrophic hurricane impacts in the United States. Residents planning on sheltering-in-place during hurricane impact can download Virtual Badge to report their location and status to local authorities.  This enables local emergency managers to have an actionable dataset of residents that may require assistance once the hurricane passes.

Virtual Badge collates resident check-in data and automatically generates clusters of data that displays the concentration of people planning on ignoring mandatory evacuation orders. This information is invaluable as it enables local authorities to augment Search & Rescue mission planning with accurate data for the location and concentration of citizens that may require emergency assistance.

For more information about how Virtual Badge can be used to augment Search and Rescue operations, please visit our website at

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